The first heart surgery was when she was three years old so the princess has no recollection of her body before the wiggly worm of her scar was a main feature from collar bone to the end of her rib cage. A mere four years later the second scar overlapped the first in some places, but was a lot straighter. It snakes down slightly right of centre; nestled in her adult cleavage, it adds a slightly eye-catching effect. Her scars are noticeable as they are keloid; when they were new in her childhood they were bright red, now they have faded to pale pink. Although she did get a little frustrated as a teenager when the top of the scar was the last part to fade, the princess rarely bothers about what it looks like as her scars are simply part of her, a silent witness to her survival. The mechanical heart valve implanted in the second surgery is the not so silent witness.
If her heart surgery scars were an indication of a new lease of life for the Princess, her c-section scars indicate literal new life. A son and a daughter in consecutive years.
The government of the new realm have a record of Princess Morag's scars, presumably to confirm her identity - their record could one day be used as proof that she is indeed, Princess Morag. What does a scar prove? That once there was a wound. In the case of Princess Morag's scar, those wounds were produced intentionally, using a scalpel, in order to bring ultimate healing to her body and new life from it.
But what of the wounds that Princess Morag has suffered that cannot be seen? The scars that are not visible to the eye. All of her life the princess has been asked about the scars on her chest (the other ones don't normally come up in conversation!) She has always been happy to engage in conversation about the resolution of her congenital heart condition. But even after that part of her broken heart was mended, her heart has been broken many more times. A cardiologist could do nothing to fix these other wounds. She has required a different heart surgeon. His name is Jesus.
Jesus has scars. Thomas said he wouldn't believe in the resurrection until he saw the marks and Jesus was happy to oblige when they were standing face to face. (John 20)
His wounds were born of violence, but his scars bring healing. As the princess has so often encountered, scars beg to be explained, they provoke curiosity. Not only about how they came about, but why. The princess can simply say, 'my scar is from open heart surgery', but really people want to know the story behind that; they want to hear the story of healing.
The princess has told her children of how they were born. She was willing to be cut open for them to be brought safely into the world. She is not especially brave, but she loved them and longed for them to be born.
The story of the scars of Jesus follows the same lines:
- Despite his wounds being evidence of his body's defeat, he was restored to life - his is the ultimate story of healing.
- And his scars are an invitation for you to be born again.
They tell the story of a Father, who loved the world so much, that he sent Jesus to us. That he would suffer many wounds and die with his hands and feet nailed to a cross and rise again with scars from those wounds that don't just speak, but shout of healing and new life.
What visible or invisible scars do you have? Were the wounds intentional and wrought for good? Or were they caused by painful, violent circumstance? Is the wound fully healed? Is the scar almost invisible, or like the Princess's raised and obvious?
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 54: 4-5